Joe Rohde has become one of those guys… you know, the handful of Imagineers that have crossed over from being an anonymous hard hat wearing dude in a corner of the park to a niche celebrity. Lets call him a geek star, if you are into Disney then Joe is climbing the ladder of fame hot on the heels of Tony Baxter.
Joe has been involved with some of the most interesting Disney projects of the last 20 plus years and has been with Disney since 1980 but it was really the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom that shot his star into orbit. He was in charge of the much-loved Adventurers Club and is currently working on the big Disney Hawaiian project the Aulani Resort, apparently his taste in shirts clinched this assignment for him.
He’s a decidedly funky guy… not at all the norm for conservative Disney. You know, he has whacky facial hair, a giant cluster of ear rings and wears man jewelry as easily as most men splash on the Old Spice, he is also incredibly articulate. His oratory skills set him apart from many other designers who despite great visual talent often have all the eloquence of an eggplant.
Rohde gives John Lasseter a real run for the money in the annual “Disney’s ugliest shirt” contest as well. If it is oversized, loud and garishly patterned it has earned a prized spot in Joe’s closet.
Now we have seen Joe around the Parkeology site in the past… and not in the most flattering of lights either. To revisit the shocking actions of this rouge Imagineer gone wild just click HERE. But today we present something totally different and something you really should check out. As I mentioned Rohde has a gift for speaking, he can hold an audience in the palm of his hand and this video showcases those skills well.
Back in the summer of 2003 Animal Kingdom was a relatively young park and Expedition Everest was being built to add a much-needed E-Ticket to the park. Rohde oversaw this attraction as he did the entire park and met with cast members at WDW to give them an update on what was going on.
Rather than boring you with too much detail (too late!) lets roll the video… it is a fascinating and really seldom seen glimpse into the creative process and the mind of a guy named Joe.
Watch it (in two parts) you will be happy that you did! He even manages to put a good spin on Chester and Hesters… AMAZING!